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A look back at almost 20 years of Caspian Sea operations

April 18, 2019

The Caspian Sea is well known in the maritime sector for a variety of reasons. Perhaps its most important feature is that the seabed below its northern waters is rich in oil and gas reserves.

These very same waters, however, are not only extremely shallow, but the entire region freezes solid over the winter period. Therefore, any workboat owner wanting to support the local oil and gas industry has to be able to mobilise a fleet of (ultra) shallow draft vessels capable of working in harsh climatic conditions. These exceptional project parameters point to one company in particular: Acta Marine, with its experience of providing shallow draft services all over the world.


At this point it must be noted that Acta Marine as we know it today was formed out of the merger of three separate companies (Rederij Waterweg, Van Stee Survey & Supply, and Van Laar Scheepvaart) back in 2005.


More contracts = more vessels

It was Rederij Waterweg that scored the first Caspian Sea contracts almost two decades ago. In 2002 the company sent the 38-metre long Coastal Bigfoot to work as a recording vessel for a seismic survey contract. Shortly after, Coastal Assistant joined the project to provide survey support. The following year, the number of Rederij Waterweg vessels in the region doubled with the arrival of the barge Coastal Carrier 1 and the catamaran Coastal Liner.


After Coastal Bigfoot and Coastal Assistant had demonstrated their capabilities to the Caspian Sea oil and gas industry, further contracts, requiring additional vessels, followed. This led to Rederij Waterweg teaming up with Van Stee Survey & Supply in 2005 to work together.



Memorable projects

The cooperation coincided with the acquisition of Van Stee Survey & Supply by Rederij Waterweg’s parent company Acta Marine Holding. At the time Managing Director Govert Jan van Oord described the takeover as a way to give customers access to an unrivalled large and versatile fleet. “Now we can jointly offer more than 60 workboats that can be deployed everywhere in the world,” he said.


Since that time, Acta Marine has completed numerous in the region. These include the Kasahagan offshore oil field where, once again, Coastal Bigfoot offered survey and general support. Coastal Voyager working as an Anchor Handling Tug during the construction of a Filanovski oil platform is another memorable job.


Perfect for the job

And now in 2019, the most recent contract shows that Govert Jan’s words are as valid today as they were almost 15 years ago. The ultra-shallow draft multicat Coastal Discovery has just been deployed on a long-term charter to a Caspian Sea project. While her work portfolio of oil, gas and renewables support in Europe and Africa shows her ability, it was her capacity to operate with a draft of no more than two metres and work unsupported for up to 14 days that proved invaluable to the client. “Coastal Discovery was able to meet all the project criteria,” said Govert-Jan about the new contract. “This is what makes her such a unique ultra-shallow draft vessel – and one that is perfect for this project.”



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